Rebranding Advertises a New 'ArcBest'

by Marty Cook  on Monday, May. 12, 2014 12:00 am  

ArcBest, of Fort Smith, has retained the ABF Freight name for its biggest subsidiary and says the new name for the parent company is an effort “to clarify our identity in the marketplace.” | (Photo by Kat Wilson)

Arkansas Best isn’t just a trucking company anymore.

Heck, it isn’t even Arkansas Best anymore.

The company formerly known as Arkansas Best Corp. became ArcBest Corp. on May 1. The name change — officially a rebranding — was companywide as email addresses, the website and headquarter marquees were among the makeovers.

Even its Nasdaq symbol changed from ABFS to ARCB.

ArcBest officials said the reboot had been in the works for a while and it was a painstaking process to come up with a new company name. It’s not like a company can easily rebrand itself if the first try doesn’t quite work out.

So Arkansas Best of Fort Smith became ArcBest — still with a nod to its Arkansas roots but, overall, a more universal non-region-specific name.

And a non-trucking-specific name.

“This has been something we have been thinking about for a while,” said Kathy Fieweger, the company’s chief marketing officer. “The company has had the name for a long time, but it really does a lot more than serve the nearby Arkansas region. That doesn’t always get reflected as much.

“It was a really lengthy group process to make sure we were adequately or appropriately describing the scope and breadth of the company’s operations. We’re just trying to clarify our identity in the marketplace.”

Arkansas Best made its name with its freight work, and ABF Freight still carries the load for ArcBest. ABF Freight, which was founded in 1923, generated nearly $429 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2014.

ABF Freight kept its name but the company revealed a new logo for the trucks on May 1.

“Arkansas Best, as it is known by the financial community, is a unionized less-than-truckload carrier,” said Brad Delco, a transportation analyst with Stephens Inc. in Little Rock. “ABF Freight, that’s a pretty strong brand. In reality, this story has become a lot more complex; it’s a lot more than just a trucking company.”



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